Rev. Dr. Stephen A. DeFor, 73

Published 8:36 am Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Rev. Dr. Stephen A. DeFor, 73

The Rev. Dr. Stephen A. DeFor, 73, of Austin, Minnesota, died Friday, Jan. 12, 2018, at his residence.

Stephen Arnold was born Oct. 21, 1944, in Richmond, California, to Vernon and Erna (Hansen) DeFor. He grew up and attended school in Austin, graduating from Austin High School in 1962. In 1964, Steve married Donna Kiewatt in Bloomington, Minnesota. The couple had three children and were later divorced. Steve graduated from the Minnesota Bible College in 1968 with a bachelor of theology degree. He received his bachelor of history degree from St. Paul Bible College. To further his education, Steve studied at the Lincoln Christian Seminary in Lincoln, Illinois, where he received his master of divinity degree. During his schooling, Steve was a youth minister at First Christian Church in Joliet, Illinois. After he received his masters degree, he became a minister at First Christian. In 1978, Steve accepted a position as a professor of Christian education and history at Minnesota Bible College in Rochester, Minnesota. At that time, the family relocated to Austin. In 1987, he received his doctor of ministry degree from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Steve attended Winona State University and received a master of science degree in counseling in 1992. In 1999, he became a minister at the Church of Christ in Austin. Steve was passionate about reading and collecting books. He enjoyed writing and had a commitment to lifelong learning. Steve helped care for his mother for many years and did not hesitate to reach out to others. Steve enjoyed cats and had one as a pet at various times in his life. He took many mission trips, including to Jamaica, where he provided supplies to an orphanage. He was a runner, completing 14 marathons and numerous other races. Steve was active in the Austin Area Grief Support group and worked part-time as clergy and funeral assistant for Worlein Funeral Home. He will be dearly missed by his family and many friends.

Survivors include his children, Hans (Rachel) DeFor of Washington, D. C., Peder (Sarah) DeFor of Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Heidi (Chad) Gilbert of Seattle, Washington; eight grandchildren; brother, Pastor David (Donna) DeFor, Austin; sister, Cecelia (Andrew) Manoochehri of Pasadena, California; and his special friend, Mary Lund of Geneva, Minnesota. Steve was preceded in death by his parents, Vernon and Erna DeFor.

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Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018, at the Church of Christ in Austin with his nephew, the Rev. Tim DeFor, officiating. There will be a visitation from 4-7 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 17, at the Worlein Funeral Home and one hour prior to the service at the church on Thursday. Interment will be in Oakwood Cemetery. Memorials should be directed to the Church of Christ in Austin. Services prearranged and performed by Worlein Funeral Home. Condolences may be expressed to the family online at